Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Audi gets ripped

Amid a backdrop of an amateur sport where pickle dishes and personal satisfaction remain the primary prizes, the continued growth of sponsorship and professional sailing leads to unintended consequences.

The Melges 32 class hosts the four event Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series in Italy. Audi has increasingly become a sponsor in a sport that does not have many prominent international brands. But at the first event of the 2011 series in Naples, Italy, the winner of the event protested their support.

The 22-boat event was won by Mascalzone Latino with Francesco Bruni and Paolo Masserdotti. This is the same team that is the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup, led by Italian Vincenzo Onorato. But Paolo was onboard in place of Vincenzo who refused to attend the event.

“I’m very sorry to not have seen you in Naples, I envied you very much for the fantastic races you had in my hometown,” said Vincenzo. “I personally apologize if we did not attend the price giving. This was not a lack of appreciation towards yourselves, with which I share the passion of this wonderful sport, but an open challenge against the organizing club, and more generally against Audi.

“The club has opposed the opening of our sailing school for disadvantaged children living in the slums and Audi has not honored its contractual obligation by paying the sponsorship for the Louis Vuitton Trophy (note: the team had been rebranded 'Mascalzone Latino Audi Team') that was due to us. We will not take part to any award of the circuit until Audi will settle his debt.”

American John Kilroy with tactician Nathan Wilmot (AUS) on Samba Pa Ti finished second. The second event of the Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series will be in Scarlino, Italy on April 29 - May 1.

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At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Len Davies said...

Good for Mr. Onorato!
Should Audi be remiss, this must be exposed! As for the yacht club refusing to set in place a development programme for the under-
privileged, I support his protest equally. Until we share our sport with all irrespective of background, we will never gain universal acceptance!
A man of principle!


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